College Football: Changes Finally Coming…


SEC commissioner Mike Slive joined the Paul Finebaum show Wednesday afternoon to break down the recent developments from the conference commissioners meetings discussing changes to the BCS system. Many have speculated on what might happen, but hearing it from the horse’s mouth sure doesn’t bring a calming sense that change is coming.

Slive confirmed that last week they discussed scenarios ranging from keeping the format the exact same, using the plus-one format where four teams would be selected after the bowls and even threw around the word playoff.

Ultimately what the commissioners settled on was a four team-three game format. He did admit that they have a long way to go before they officially have a formal plan in place, but just the notion that after 100-plus years we are talking about seriously having a playoff within big time college football is as exciting free bourbon.

There are still a lot of loose ends. The first is how do the decide on which four teams make the playoff. Slive was leaning heavily that a selection committee would select the teams as opposed to a formula like we currently have. I like the idea, but would hate to be one of the member on that committee.

Also, it was discussed that only conference champions would be eligible for the playoff, but I would bet your salary that Notre Dame might have an issue with this. As LSU fans, we probably have a different opinion on this matter than most. We have to live with the “split” title from 2003 ( I know the NCAA stripped them, but LSU never got its due respect because of their opponent) the BCS selected a Oklahoma team that lost its conference championship game and last year LSU lost to a team that didn’t even win its own division.

The second major issue that needs to addressed is where to play the game. The three models being discussed is still using the current BCS bowl model and rotating the game, bid the games out as a separate entity from the bowls, or have the higher seeded team host the semi-final game and the championship game would go out for bid. I am completely torn on the issue. I would love to see the third option win out, but I think the amount of money would be too big not to bid the games out. How great would it be to see a January matchup between Ohio State and Alabama at the Horseshoe or BDS?

The problem is that there are only a handful of universities that could handle the load of hosting the game. The scenario of a team like TCU hosting a game has been floating around to show the problems that could arise, but I think most campuses in the PAC-12, BIG 12 and ACC would struggle to host the game. Don’t even think about the amount fans from the opposing team that would over-take a city; instead where would all the media go? Each semi-final game would be covered with the same intense microscope as the final four. If we went this route, Louisiana would finally have something to do with all the vacant FEMA trailers.

So with college campuses out, what about the bowl system supporting it. Let’s face it, the bowls have been the road block all these years in preventing a playoff, yet we would reward them on their mistakes? It makes no sense and they would find a way to effe it up. Certain bowls believe they are bigger than the game, mainly the Rose Bowl, and could try to use tradition to slow down reform.

The committee is looking into two different ways to use the bowls. The first would rotate the three games within the four BCS bowls. This makes the most sense, but as Beano Cook says “they will try to make it more confusing that the Normandy invasion”. Bowls like the Rose and Sugar have thrown out the option of keeping their conference tie-ins and if a team from the conference earn a top seed, they would host the bowl. The problem with that is the system could implode. What would the rose bowl do if USC and Michigan earned the top two spots? Who would play in the Rose Bowl and who would be stuck playing else where?

I can go on and on ripping hole in the proposals, but let’s not forget why I am writing this. There is now hope of a real championship game in college football. Mike Slive said “we have a responsibility to improve the game”. I agree Mr. Slive, but the conversation is starting 50-years to late. The commissioners will meet again in June to start discussions on the semantics.